Region XI needs focus on manufacturing
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (14 August) -- Former National Economic Development Authority Regional Director Dr. Edmundo Prantilla attributed the slow growth of region XI to its poor manufacturing sector.
Guesting at the Ugnayan sa Mandaya Hotel yesterday, Prantilla gave his scholarly interpretation of the mere 6.7 percent growth of the region which was released by the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB).
The industry sector of the region may have contributed to the over-all growth but Prantilla observed that it is not growing fast enough to overcome the population growth.
The said sector that includes mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, electricity, gas and water expanded from 2.8 percent in 2006 to an impressive 11.9 percent last year.
However, it did not impress Prantilla who claimed that in order for the region to surpass the economic standing of Region X it must not neglect its manufacturing industry as this is seen a potential area for the region.
"If you observe, there is no electronics investment here when in fact our region is positioned to champion on the industry sector." he said.
He cited Northern Mindanao as an example that exhibited focus on manufacturing as it has become a cradle of heavy industries like steel and shipping.
Region XI may have been getting potential investments but are still agri-based in nature or may just still focus on the service sector.
"Manufacturing is the best engine for growth and the region must not just limit it on food processing but also on electronics." he said.
NSCB regional head Estrella Turingan agreed claiming that most Asian countries that are now highly-developed like Japan and China first banked on manufacturing most especially on electronics. As time passed, these countries need to move on to a higher level of technology and left the electronics sector behind to other developing countries.
" The country must be on this stage right now and the region must take advantage on manufacturing." Turingan stressed.
Prantilla, on the other hand, disclosed that the manufacturing industry's growth rate could go as high as 35 percent while the agriculture sector can only reach its maximum growth at 9 percent.
The former NEDA regional head also said that realizing and tapping such industry is never impossible since the region is the source of most raw materials used in most manufacturing industries.
While the region may still continue working on for the agriculture sector and service sector, he suggested that the best way for Region XI to beat the growth rate of Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and SOCCSKARGEN is to pay attention on the potential possibilities of the manufacturing industry. (PIA) [top]